Three police officers are facing charges after attempting to extort money from fishermen in Surat Thani, leading to hundreds of villagers surrounding their car in an ad-hoc protest against their antics.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, May 20th, when three police officers from Provincial Police Region 8 went to a small fishing village in tambon Thung Kong in the Kanchanadit district of Surat Thani to supposedly investigate illegal fishing.
They arrested a local man who was trading baby cockles from the Tapi River and allegedly demanded five million baht for his release and non-prosecution.
The three officers also seized the man’s catch, amounting to 23 sacks of cockles weighing more than 700 kilograms and worth up to half a million baht before stuffing the fisherman into a white Toyota Fortuner.
However, locals from the village quickly heard of the situation and surrounded the car, not allowing the police to drive away until local officers arrived on the scene.
As local officers arrived to mediate the situation, numerous local villagers informed the officials that this was not a one-off situation and the three officers had been extorting local fishermen for quite some time.
After a stand-off lasting around three hours, the villagers let the car drive away with a warning not to come back again.
However, an internal probe has now been launched against the three officers who are facing multiple extortion charges.